Neil Thomson and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra & Choir present the 15th instalment in our acclaimed ‘Music of Brazil’ series. It’s the second album to feature works by one of Brazil’s most admired composers, José Antônio de Almeida Prado; it’s also the fifth to feature Neil Thomson as musical director ‘[whose] conducting oozes unabated passion and drive that inspire his players.’ (Classical Music Daily on Santoro’s Symphonies 11 and 12)
José Antônio de Almeida Prado was one of the most admired Brazilian composers of his time. The two stylistically diverse works featured on this album exemplify different creative periods in the composer’s life. The prize-winning Pequenos funerais cantantes, which was Almeida Prado’s breakthrough as a composer, is a lament full of unique soundworlds forged from different combinations of choral and orchestral writing. The superbly orchestrated Sinfonia dos Orixás takes as its subject the Orishas (deities in the Yoruba religion) – and is a personal tribute to the rich Afro-Brazilian religious traditions, a sumptuous melodic and rhythmic feast celebrating the forces of nature.
Neil Thomson has been principal conductor and artistic director of the Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra since 2014, leading the orchestra to national prominence with its championing of Brazilian and contemporary repertoire. He has also worked with all the major UK orchestras and with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, WDR Rundfunkorchester, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and the Romanian National Orchestra.
Founded in 1954, the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo Symphony Orchestra) has become an inseparable part of São Paulo and Brazilian culture. In 2012, Marin Alsop was named principal conductor, and was appointed music director the following year. During her tenure, the orchestra made its fourth European tour, appeared at major European festivals, and in 2019 toured China and Hong Kong, becoming the first Latin American professional orchestra to perform there.
Founded in 1994 and now recognised as a benchmark for vocal music in Brazil, the São Paulo Symphony Choir’s repertoire spans a range of musical periods, with a particular emphasis on the 20th and 21st centuries and works by Brazilian composers. In January 2020, the Choir performed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, under the baton of Marin Alsop, honorary conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra.